CARLSBAD — It’s Mardi Gras in August when Madame LeRoux & Krewe, together with the Euphoria Brass Band, take center stage for the 27th season of TGIF Jazz in the Parks.
The concert, featuring New Orleans-style rhythm and blues, is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 3 at Poinsettia Park located at 6600 Hidden Valley Road.
Madame LeRoux is the alter ego of singer Michele Lundeen, a nine-time nominee for “Best Blues” at the San Diego Music Awards. She also fronts for Michele Lundeen & Blues Streak, and has been a longtime draw with the Bayou Brothers Zydeco/Cajun band.
Growing up in the Bay Area, Lundeen said she began singing by harmonizing with her sister at family functions, and talent shows, with a dream of one day singing on the big stage. Her first professional gig was “a hand-me-down from my sister, a ‘lounge’ act, doing some jazz and blues standards and a few soft rock hits of the day.”
“Madame LeRoux was ‘born’ about six years ago here in San Diego when I became a frequent guest with the Bayou Brothers at various Zydeco/Cajun events,” she said. “I subsequently started getting offers to perform with my own lineup.”
Lundeen said she’s looking forward to returning to Carlsbad.
“This TGIF concert is exciting for me,” she said. “I’ve been to them before and I know how much fun they are and how the crowd is ready to have a good time.
“New Orleans is such a melting pot and I love cooking up something irresistible — a pinch of this, a pinch of that. I’ve always been moved by the power of gospel, soul and infectious rhythm and blues. It feels natural, and honest, and I like telling the story.”
Lundeen said concert goers can expect “swampy” favorites such as classic Etta James, the “rollicking” Marcia Ball, The Meters, Louis Jordan and B.B. King.
“Be prepared to sing along,” she said.
Sharing the stage, as Madame LeRoux has done in the past, is the Euphoria Brass Band founded by Drew Miller, host of “The Second Line Parade” jazz radio show on KSDS 88.FM.
Miller (bass drum) is joined by Ron Bocian (snare drum), Wayne Rice (tuba), David Jackson (tenor sax), April West (trombone) and Steve Ebner (trumpet). J.P. Balmat (alto and baritone sax) is the well-known band director at Mission Bay High School.
Earlier this year on Feb. 21, Mardi Gras Day, the band released a CD titled “Coast to Coast.” It went on to be nominated for a San Diego Music Award.
The band will be playing favorites such as “Bourbon Street Parade,” “Whoppin’ Blues,” “Feel Like Funkin’ It Up” and “Who Took the Happiness Out.”
Miller, a jazz historian, offered some background.
“We are coming from a street tradition that dates back to the Civil War when European horns mixed with African-American drums and started morphing into jazz,” he said.
“It became this real organic street tradition that you would find at funerals. In the mid-1900s musicians were not only at funerals, but social events, and any excuse to parade down the street.”
The 27th season of TGIF Jazz in the Parks is presented by the city of Carlsbad’s Cultural Arts Office with support from the Carlsbad Friends of the Arts and the Festival Foundation.
Major support for the opportunity drawings, which are organized and conducted by the Friends of the Arts, comes from Alaska Airlines and Pueblo Bonito Oceanfront Resorts & Spas Mexico. Generous in-kind support for the souvenir program has been provided by Modern Postcard.
The remainder of the concert season will take place at Calavera Hills Park, 2997 Glasgow Drive, with Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars (afro-pop and world) on Aug. 10, Ruby and The Red Hots (jazz and blues) on Aug. 17 and the Johnny Polanco Orchestra (salsa and Latin jazz) on Aug. 24.
For more information, visit madamelerouxkrewe.homestead.com, [email protected] and http://euphoriabrassband.com.